When relationships break, it’s up to us to do everything in our power to work things out. We must make it our priority to leave everything on the table as we seek to reconcile with one another. As we do this, we need to remember the goal of repairing a broken relationship is not actually reconciliation—the goal is no regrets.
Reconciliation requires both parties to move toward one another. You can never control the actions or agenda of another individual, but you can control your ability to lay down the weapons and remove any unnecessary obstacles to reconnecting with that person.
If we can’t ensure reconciliation, what can we do to ensure we have no regrets?
- Take retribution off the table. Seek to get back to—not get back at—the other person.
- Own our part in the mess. Look in the mirror and focus on what your role in disrupting the relationship was.
- Make the first move regardless of who moved away first. Someone has to do it, so let it be you.
- Decide to keep the door open and the welcome mat out… no matter how long it takes the other person to show up.
This is uncomfortable. This is unintuitive. So why should we do it? Why spend the time and energy?
The simple answer: Freedom.
Sounds cheesy, right? But there is a lot of truth in it.
When we take steps to ensure we have no regrets, we are free from anger and bitterness building up inside of us and exploding out into our future relationships. We are free from the regret of wondering if we could have done more. We are free from the weight of guilt and shame for any wrongdoing we may have committed along the way.
Our relationships might never truly be repaired, and maybe that is the safest option sometimes. But there is a freedom that comes when we move toward the other person and forgive them for the harm they’ve caused. That freedom is worth it because it opens us up to move forward with love and happiness in the relationships that are to come, rather than being held hostage by the wounded emotions and unresolved conflicts of the past.
So do the hard thing. Make the first move. Live with fewer regrets.
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